Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

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Today​’s Scrip-Bit 1 April 2019 Ephesians 5:20.

Ephesians 5:20.   ​   Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

And so we continue round the merry go round of our work life once again, as Monday has blazoned into our consciousness on this beautiful and sunny day in sweet Tobago! Glory to God! I’m truly sorry to hear that you all had snow in my area in the northern climes yesterday, but them’s the breaks, that’s what the northern climes are all about! (smile) 

Hope you didn’t have to trudge and drive through any snow to get to work this morning while I blessedly sit here writing on the porch, listening to the birds chirp their sweet songs of thanksgiving, admire the beautiful flora and listen to the sea lap gently and playfully on the rocky shore line. No, don’t be jealous! Let your Christian nature take hold and be glad for me, seeing that I have not enjoyed such blessings in a number of years! (smile) 

Oh don’t worry, I know it’s hard not to be envious when one of your associates is enjoying fair weather while you are experiencing the foul kind! But wherever we are in this fine universe of God’s, it’s Monday and we need to get out and labour to provide the necessities of life for our families and ourselves. And regardless of how hard we try, somehow we still always get fouled up by Monday’s. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast. 

But thankfully we have an antidote for all of our Monday morning ailments, called the Monday Morning Battle Hymn, and it just chases away all those dark and cloudy Monday skies. So let’s raise our voices and declare it (chuh- wrong again!) in sincere faith, with as much enthusiasm as we can muster: 

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

 But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’  

Ah friends, what a quick and pleasant change sincere prayer can make in our sad and miserable spirits eh! It’s simply the awesome power of God! The amazing solution that He has developed to right our spirits; those who believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ! For if you don’t believe in them, then NONE of what we’re talking about will work! 

As this quote from a Daily Bread Devotional so truly declares (right ho!) ‘Grateful praise satisfies us and pleases God!’ Yes my people, both parties are satisfied with words uttered in praise and thanksgiving; it corrects our spirits, and it pleases God, who made us most of all to be a source of vital communication, through praise and thanksgiving. 

No wonder Bruh Paul informed the Ephesian church thus: ‘Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ And there are no truer words than those to be found in our faith my people! And Bruh Paul said the same basic thing to the Colossians: ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him. (Col.3:17) 

 And the scholars have this to say about that verse: ‘3:17. The beneficial influence produced by the indwelling word of Christ is not only to affect public and private worship (vs.16), but it is also to control ALL areas of a Christian’s life.’ Yuh see that friends, thanks and praise and the Word of God are to be the mainstays in a believer’s life! 

You can’t be running around crazily with and longing for the things of the world, ignoring Almighty God, your Creator and Provider and expect to flourish, either in this life or the one to come! And you’ll notice too that even Jesus, the Son of God gave thanks. Check out when He fed the four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fishes: ‘And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks…’ (Matt.15:36) 

And He did the same thing when He fed the five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fishes. ‘Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.’ (Luke 9:16) Yes friends, Jesus knew where His bread was buttered; in heaven, at the Father’s throne, and the only reason He could do those miracles is because He looked to the Father and also gave thanks! 

And if Jesus needed to do that, then how much more we mere sinful mortals need to come to the throne of grace in humility and thanksgiving eh? Even when Jesus initiated the holy act of communion in His remembrance; ‘He took bread and blessed it…And He took the cup, and gave thanks…’ (Matt.26:26-27) 

Not much more to say friends, except to add Bruh Paul’s directive to the Thessalonians: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess.5:16-18) Now as obedient children of God, let’s go out and do exactly that today nuh! Much LOVE!

…continue in prayer…and watch in the same…with thanksgiving…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2014 John 6:29

John 6:29.   Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Oh mih people, how we doing this bright and bountiful Sunday morning eh? I do hope that the Lord is in our thoughts, and that all those who celebrate the Sabbath on Sundays are getting ready to go and fellowship with others of like intentions.
 
Meanwhile, for those who celebrate the Sabbath on other days, I hope that you have already successfully fellowshipped with your peers. For we need to remember that fellowshipping is extremely important in the lives of Christ’s people.
 
It’s where we encourage and exhort and uplift each other. So please make it a habit of getting together with others of your denomination at least once a week to celebrate Christ’s victory, and to offer up praise and worship in thanksgiving for all that He’s so selflessly done for us.
 
And before I forget, here is a most useful prayer that we can all use when we come to share private time with our Maker. I’ve shared it sometime ago, but in light of yesterday’s Bit, where we talked about reading the Word, it seemed rather apropos to share it again. I found it at the back of my mother’s Bible after she went to be with the Lord, and since then, I’ve used it all the time.
 
It’s plain and simple and to the point. ‘Dear heavenly Father, as I open my Bible, I pray that you will let my heart find peace. As my mind is filled with new understanding, Grant that I may learn the things you want me to know from the words I read. Bless me to find the courage, the comfort, the joy, these pages can bring, as I read about Jesus our greatest teacher. Amen.’
 
Oh Friends, I don’t think we can getter a better opening prayer than that, for it covers all the bases! But it’s your choice to use it or not, though you can certainly use it as a guide to develop your own individual approach. Whatever you’re comfortable with, that’s what you ought to use.
 
And today, my fellow believers, we’re going to look at an interesting and most important teaching of Jesus. This happens the day after He feeds the five thousand with the five barley loaves and two small fishes, then gathers up twelve baskets with the remnants of that meal. That certainly opened their eyes and made them believe that Jesus was indeed a prophet. (John 6:1-14)
 
But Jesus fearing that they would take Him by force and try to make Him king, went off by Himself into the mountains. Then that evening, without Jesus, the disciples got into a boat to cross over the Sea of Galilee, but part way over a wicked storm hit them.
 
And like the gracious Saviour He is, who comes to our rescue time and time again, the disciples, now in great despair for their lives, eventually see Him walking on the water towards them, saying; ‘It is I; be not afraid.’ (John 6:20)
 
Now obviously after hearing about Jesus great miracle of feeding, the next day throngs gathered in expectation of more of the same. But unfortunately they couldn’t find Jesus, although they knew that He hadn’t gone over in the boat with the disciples. But nonetheless, they rushed over by boat to the other side, to Capernaum, looking for Him.
 
‘And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles (signs), but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.’ (John 6:25-26)
 
Jesus knew that they weren’t looking for Him for spiritual purposes, for spiritual fodder, but for physical food. And He therefore warns them: ‘Labour not for the meat (food) which perisheth, but for that meat (food) which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.’ (John 6:27)
 
Oh Friends, that warning is also of the utmost importance to us today, as we have sadly placed God in the background of our society with only sparse acknowledgment, and are daily lusting more and more after the unenduring things of the world.
 
And that is oh so wrong, so foolish my brethren, because it imperils our salvation, our eternal livelihood, setting us up for eternal separation from Almighty God, which is the very worst thing that could ever happen to a human being!
 
And the crowd back then, not fully understanding Jesus’ words, continued: ‘Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.’ (John 6:28-29)
 
Yes Friends, that is what God expects of us! Before we can do anything in His name, we must first believe in and on Jesus Christ; the One He sent to enlighten us, to selflessly sacrifice His sinless life on our behalf, and thus redeem and reconcile us to
Himself! That, my people, ought to be our first order of business! Not the last, as some of us consider it.
 
And that is quite ably backed up by Jesus’ statement to doubting Thomas, when he declared: ‘Lord, we know not wither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:5-6)
 
Oh my brethren, no truer words have ever been spoken! So if you are truly concerned about your life in the hereafter, and you ought to be, then you’d better take those words to heart and put them into action in your life. For that my Friends, is indeed wisdom of the highest order possible. Much LOVE!
 
…to spend eternity on the inside with the Father looking out…one must first embrace the Son and all that He stands for…that’s the ONLY WAY to achieve that most worthwhile goal…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 November 2013 Mark 6:50

Mark 6:50.    For they all saw him, and were troubled. and immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
 
Oh Friends, the ole fella’s a bit under the weather this Wednesday fall morning. I got up from a good sleep with my nasal allergies acting up some, which caused my spirit to fall a tad, but the Bit has to go out under any circumstance… except death obviously. (smile)
 
And I have no doubt that the Lord will enable me to write something sensible that will encourage His followers and glorify Him.
 
And we’ll begin with the latest story that’s making world headline from Toronto; that’s the inappropriate, ‘unmayoral’ behaviour of Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford.
 
I have to shake my head and sigh, ‘Ah Lord eh.’ That’s because for several months now there’s been talk et al about a video showing him smoking crack cocaine with some youngsters from the Somali community, his hanging out with other undesirables, drunkenness in public and a host of other misdemeanours.
 
Obviously he claimed that none of them were true. But apparently yesterday he changed his tune and confessed to the crack cocaine smoking.
 
This deserves another heartfelt sigh and ‘Ah Lord eh,’ for all that the two Ford boys, the mayor and his brother Doug, a councilman, have done since they were elected two years ago, is cause untold and unnecessary controversy and make the city a laughingstock around the world with their antagonistic behaviour.
 
I stopped paying much attention to them long ago because they behave like a pair of arrogant, bully-boy buffoons, and then they get on their radio talk show and make matters even worse. It even seems that brother Doug is the de facto mayor, because in all the nonsense, you’ve heard more from him than the supposed mayor.
 
They both should resign, but neither of them seems to have even considered that action. And sadly, it’s been said that Rob Ford has a good chance of again winning the mayor’s position in an election scheduled for the not too distant future.
 
The good Lord forbid! Then they’ll truly feel that the city is their personal fiefdom and commit even worse actions. But just remember Friends, that we always get the government we deserve. And that’s enough of the foolish Fords. I’ve spent more time on them than I’d planned.
 
Let’s get to something more important, positive and uplifting like our Bit. ‘For they all saw him, and were troubled. and immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.’
 
Yes mih Friends, powerful and encouraging words from a real leader, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
 
He spoke those words to His disciples when He came walking over the water towards them, as they were fighting to stay afloat and alive in their little boat amidst a terrible storm.
 
All of this happened after He’d fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. He then compelled the disciples to get into the boat and cross over to Bethsaida, while He sent away the multitudes, then went up into a mountain to pray.
 
Please note my people, that everyday Jesus got up early and prayed, strengthening His Spirit, before intermingling with the crowds. He also took time to refresh His Spirit in prayer after engaging the multitudes. We would be wise to do likewise; pray before and after our engaging the world and all its evil, deceit and treachery.
 
It’s amazing and also interesting that after seeing Jesus do the feeding miracle earlier on, the disciples were still terribly afraid when they saw Him walking on the water towards them. In their abject fear, they believed it was an apparition, a ghost. That’s until Jesus spoke those gentle, encouraging and comforting words: ‘Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.’
 
Oh Friends, it wasn’t the first or last time that Jesus said those comforting words, ‘Be of good cheer.’ He first said it to a man sick of the palsy (paralyzed), lying on his bed, before He healed him. ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.’ (Matt.9.2b)
 
And He repeated it again in His famous words to the disciples, and by extension us: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)  
 
Oh my people, we couldn’t ask for more encouraging and comforting words than those! But yet we’re still afraid of life and what the world brings against us. If we weren’t, we’d be fighting tooth and nail to change our disgusting, deteriorating, evil world. But unfortunately Lucifer and his wicked bully-boys have us scared of what they’ll do to us if we stand up and seriously fight for our Christian ways and rights.
 
Oh my brethren, as true followers of Christ, we cannot go around living a scared and half-hearted life! Jesus has already given us the victory, we now have to accept it, and behave as though we’ve won the battle, remember we live by faith and not by sight. Otherwise all Jesus’ sacrifices on our behalf would be in vain. And we certainly don’t want that to happen. 
 
The fact of the matter is that long before Jesus even came to earth, many times the Lord instructed His people not to be afraid. Listen to these powerful, encouraging and comforting words from Isaiah, talking of the final restoration of Israel.
 
‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded (disgraced): they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.’ (Is.41:10-11)
 
Ah mih breddren, what else do we expect our God to do eh – come and hold our hands and lead us like little children? Chuh! We’re big children, full of talk in good times, but we behave like ‘scaredy’ cats when adversity arises.
 
Oh Friends, I’m imploring us today to get rid of that fearful attitude and scared mentality. Instead let’s staunchly accept and believe the ever-faithful promises of our Lord and Saviour like true believers should.
 
As Bruh Paul tells Timothy: ‘Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ (2 Tim.3:12)
 
But then he encourages the Roman church with these words. ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.’ (Rom.8:37) And that’s the gospel truth people!
 
Oh my fellow believers, we shall suffer adversity here on earth, but through the steadfast faith and strength in the promises of Jesus, who’s already conquered the world, we too shall conquer our adversity and adversaries. Please take comfort in that and let’s stand strong and fight the good fight in His Name. That’s the mark of true believers! Much LOVE!
 
…nothing can separate us from the LOVE OF GOD…which is in Christ Jesus our Lord… (Rom.8:39b)